Evolution of a post-reproductive life stage – Journal of Zoology Weblog

Prof. Pat Monaghan and Dr. Edward Ivimey-Cook dinner, Faculty of Biodiversity, One Well being and Veterinary Medication, College of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK


In some species, everlasting curtailment of copy part-way by way of the lifespan of grownup females is a characteristic of their developed life historical past. The existence of such a post-reproductive life stage is outwardly uncommon; moderately strong proof for that is confined to solely six species (people, Asian elephants and 4 whales). That it happens in any respect seems to contradict our view of pure choice working to maximise health and particular circumstances should exist to elucidate its prevalence. We consider the primary hypotheses posited to elucidate the evolution of this life stage, why it happens in a restricted group of animals, and why solely in females. We convey collectively literature from a number of organic disciplines and ranges of enquiry, ranging by way of evolutionary ecology, developmental biology, physiology, neuroscience, molecular biology, and human medication. We conclude that whereas time-limited fertility will not be in itself adaptive, the period of subsequent survival is prone to be linked to inclusive health advantages. We current a brand new speculation which posits that the period of feminine fertility in sure long-lived, extremely encephalised species, with no post-natal oogenesis, is restricted by the necessity for intense screening of oocyte mitochondria. That is required to assist endothermy coupled with the very excessive vitality requirement for the event and upkeep of the exceptionally massive mind measurement required for complicated social dwelling. This limits the quantity and shelf-life of oocytes, creating an antagonistically pleotropic impact that’s helpful to the manufacturing of excessive performing offspring however carries the later life price of time-limited feminine fertility. However the finish of the fertile interval isn’t any time to die. Inclusive health advantages arising from protracted parental care of offspring, overlapping generations, and kin group buildings implies that continued survival of post-reproductive females is favoured by choice. We propose additional traces of analysis to check these concepts.

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